Fancy an adventure?
The Mull of Kintyre, a region brought to prominence in song by Sir Paul McCartney, has held this annual music festival, which has grown each year since it’s inception in 1993. Set in the community of Campbeltown, the festival has become the region’s top cultural event, which encourages people to visit Kintyre from all parts of the globe. Satisfying an ambition of the Festival to showcase the very best in traditional and contemporary music worldwide whilst also displaying the region’s cultural individuality through the talents of the local musicians of all ages.
In the early nineties the session scene in Campbeltown was varied with meticulous technical talent sitting alongside emerging and experimental musicians. It was from this scene that a committee was formed in the summer of 1992. A mixture of musicians, publicans and music enthusiasts took this a stage further to create a music festival which has grown and matured into one of the best Festivals in Scotland.
The Festival committee have mixed the content of their programme to suit all tastes in music, whilst remaining aware that the main format has been formed around the traditional music of Scotland and Ireland. They have adopted a theme based on an affinity with the people of Northern Ireland and the historical links to them as the sea kingdom of Dalriada. The first Scots set foot in Kintyre circa 300 AD and the evidence of their occupation is all around. The fact that an influential association had previously existed between our two regions is reflected in the Festival motto – ‘Cradle of the Nation’
By year 12 the festival was operating at capacity, with sell out performances and an unsatisfied demand for tickets. The organisers faced with the choice of either remaining as it was or progressing to a higher level by expanding to meet the events full potential, something they firmly believe could be achieved. Plans were drawn up, advice was sought though the local enterprise company (Argyll and the Islands Enterprise) and a decision was made to expand the Festival and introduce a new format to the event. Additional funds were successfully sought through EventScotland to bring in a local events company, J.I.G. Events to market and develop the event and the new and expanded Festival was born.
The new format and additional venues ensured that more people than ever enjoy the Mull of Kintyre Music Festival phenomenon. Established events such as the Festival Ceilidh, Grand Parade and Survivors’ Night were complemented by the Festival Club (now the Mega Saturday Session in Kilbrannan Bar, while the family-orientated outdoor event Harbour Splash Day received a makeover to become “Doon the Green” in 2005 and in 2018 became Up the Close in the grounds of Springbank Distillery . The new all standing concert with its increased capacity has proved a huge success with bands such as The Fratellis, The View, The Saw Doctors, Deacon Blue, Idlewild, The Stranglers, Treacherous Orchestra and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers selling out. This is perfectly complemented by the Traditional concert initially held first in Campbeltown Picture House and now in Campbeltown Heritage Centre headlining with Capercaillie, Eddi Reader, Ali Bain & Phil Cunningham, Breabach, Daimh, Rura, Dougie MacLean and Dervish. In addition, Campbeltown’s pubs and hotels are so crammed full of musicians that many of them end up playing out in the street. Whether you are there to listen to music or to join in a session you are guaranteed the warmest of welcomes.
Returning once again to the Kingdom, Sunday sees the “Dalriada Connections Concert” celebrating the cultural and musical links between Kintyre and Northern Ireland and featuring local musicians from both sides. This event now sponsored by Mitchells Glengyle distillery continues to grow in popularity each year and become one of the Festivals hidden gems. In 2014 we introduced our newest concert the, Festival Gaelic Night at Ceol Campbeltown, this sell out concert now extends the Festival to a 5 day event for something for everyone.
Whether you are looking for a fun weekend away, a workshop to improve your musical talent, to find out more about your heritage or just an entertaining night out you will find it at the Mull of Kintyre Music Festival.
See you there!